What Is A Hero?
The following was written in 1965 by newspaperman, Jake Holland, long before the downfall of the Soviet Union. While it was written about Synder P. Bembry, a soldier of the 2nd Bn, 7th Cavalry, who died in Vietnam, in 1965, it applies to all those soldiers, who have fought or died serving our country. (Three Soldiers Statue below)
The word "HEROISM" is today often bandied about in a manner most careless. What is a "HERO" anyway? What is the stuff of which heroes are made?
We will scarcely learn the answer to this question from the man on the street. The modern reporter with his swift pencil is often quick to describe this or that action as "HEROIC," this or that person as a "HERO." The result has been inevitable: "heroism" has almost lost its meaning.
Turning back to that most basic of reference books for a starting point, we find first the "HERO" described as "...a man honored because of exceptional service to mankind... a person usually of noble character and... distinguished valor. In short, he may be regarded as a model.
Young Synder Bembry would doubtless have been embarrassed, and perhaps laughingly would have rejected all notions of heroism in his life. Conceivably, there are those who deem it a sentimental exaggeration to do so now. Few men living could accept the epithet of "hero" without embarrassment. If one could, then he would be too immodest to deserve it.
The personal manifestation of genuine heroism is a rare thing indeed -- so rare in fact that when men do encounter it they usually mistake it for something else.
But when Snyder stepped across that great invisible threshhold, he joined the ranks with an illustrious company of men who can only be described as truly heroic. These are the men, by whose supreme sacrifice we may still walk the streets of the land in safety as free men.
Nothing we may say here can add to the luster of their names, nor can we enhance the sacredness of their memory. But speak we must, our admiration and acknowledge we must, our eternal debt--not that our words shall ever be adequate, but because we cannot keep silent.
The anti-war sentiments, the draft card burnings, the White House picketing, the egg head theorizing--these have all received a disproportionate share of national publicity, much to the delight of the Communist propaganda mills. But thank God there are, we believe, millions of young Americans who would NOT rather "be red than dead."
For every banjo-banging bearded beatnik with burning draft card in hand, there are yet a thousand spiritual heirs of Nathan Hale with other regrets than a mere draft call. Thank God for every one of them!
Please read this